Can parents be held responsible for child cyberbullying?

Since its ubiquitous presence, the use of the internet has permeated all aspects of our life. However, this has come at a specific cost of being misused by particular segments of society. School children have mainly fallen victim to this cruel practice of cyberbullying.

Depending on the state and applicable cyberbullying laws, sanctions could range anywhere from civil penalties, such as school intervention via suspensions and /expulsions, to jail time for felonies and even some misdemeanors.

Florida law doesn’t include criminal charges but directs schools to enact administrative penalties such as suspension and expulsion for acts of cyberbullying.   

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Throughout the 19th century, juveniles in the United States accused of criminal behavior were tried in the same courts as adults and subjected to the same punishments. However, when laws relating to juvenile crimes changed, the emphasis was given to probation( conditional release to parents or guardians) and the resolution of family problems presumed to be reflected in delinquent behavior.

While it was widely agreed that emphasis on probation and family treatment was innovative, the new system also extended the state’s control over the youth via the designation of status offenses. Read more about due process rights that do and do not apply to youth offenders in delinquency proceedings.      

Are young offenders more likely to be sentenced within the guidelines range than non-youthful offenders?

The youthful offender laws provide special procedures for handling minors(under 18 years of age) charged with certain crimes in the adult criminal court. If a minor is charged with committing a felony when age 15 through 17, their case may or must be transferred to adult court( the regular criminal docket in superior court) depending on the charge. Once in adult court, the court must determine whether the minor qualifies as a “youthful offender.” 

In principle, as there are many complexities involved in determining charging young offenders, the possibility of them falling within the guidelines range is more

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Status offenses are non-criminal acts that are considered law violations because the offender is a minor. States vary on what age constitutes being “minor” for a status offense. Nebraska, similar to the majority of the states, has an upper age limit of 17. While many states have no lower limit, Nebraska set a lower limit of age 11. To read further about the two paths that a youth identified as a status offender has to go through in Nebraska can provide an in-depth understanding of how early system involvement can have positive influences on young offenders; click here    

Is there a way to look beyond the juvenile justice system to address school truancy?

With so many parents caught up with their jobs, it is often impossible to ensure all the time that their school-going children will reach their learning institutions. Even if parents drop off their children at their school on the way to work there is no way of knowing that their children will stay. Read about cyberbullying.

When young people are labeled as “delinquent”, “unruly”, or “in need of supervision often face challenges and negative outcomes. While being identified as a status offender and the subsequent court hearings they have to go for also increases the young person’s chances of dropping out of school. Some schools have adopted Incentive-based programs instead of retributive responses to truancy. Between 2012 and 2013, 99 Maryland started using the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support Model.     

How are underage drinking cases addressed in juvenile court?

Underage drinking laws and other criminal statutes punish minors who are illegally in possession of alcohol. (these are sometimes called minor in possession, or “MIP laws”). Many defendants MIP cases are younger than the drinking age, but “adults”, will be seen as juvenile once the case reaches juvenile justice court   

Under most state MIP laws, when a person under legal drinking age is found to have had possession of alcohol, punishment can take a number of forms, from revocation of driver’s license(usually for at least 30 days), payment of fines, and even community service.

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